Last week’s forum topic presented many points of view around the Clean Energy Jobs bill. Though it did not pass during the Legislature short session in March, legislative leaders are clear it will be back on their 2019 agenda. The question is not whether climate change exists; the question posed is whether the bill is right for Oregon.
At its core, the bill proposes a “cap and invest” program to reduce carbon emissions. Oregon’s largest emitters would be held to a maximum amount of carbon emissions that decreases yearly – a cap – via credits purchased in an auction process. A company could then sell unused credits or increase their allotted emissions by investing in carbon offset programs to balance its increased emissions. The monies generated from the program are then invested into:
- community projects that lower GHG emissions, especially in communities impacted by the carbon cap.
- infrastructure to meet the pollution reduction goals set forth in by the Oregon legislature in HB 3545.
So, what could it mean for Oregon?
- Learning from early adopters in the northeast and Mid-Atlantic states as well as California with proven climate action results
- Decreased greenhouse gas emissions, investment in renewable energy solutions, and support for impacted communities
- The agricultural and industrial landscape of the northeastern U.S. is different from Oregon. California has a large, complex economy. Are these effective comparisons?
- Unknown factors including the unit cost of energy for businesses, cost to consumers, potential for energy-intensive businesses to relocate
Here are some additional resources to learn more about the topic:
- A deeper dive in the Cap and Invest model proposed in 2018.
- California’s plan to reduce emissions 80% by 2030
- Water conversation efforts already happening in Central Oregon via the Tumalo Irrigation District’s Irrigation Modernization Project
- Plan to convert 68.8 miles of canals and laterals to a buried and pressurized pipeline.
A recap of the forum can be seen on our media partner ZOLO Media’s Supper Club.
City Club appreciates the time and knowledge of the speakers Greg Dotson, Assistant Professor of Law at University of Oregon, Ed Finklea, Executive Director for Northwest Industrial Gas Users and Nancy Hamilton, Co-Director of the Oregon Business Alliance for Climate with an introduction provided by Cindy O’Neil of Solaire Homebuilders. Special thanks goes to Mike Riley, Executive Director of The Environmental Center and Helen Seidler, Leader of the Bend Citizens’ Climate Lobby Chapter.
Moey Newbold, Bill Carwile and Stephanie Spalding Bilbrey – City Club forum team
City Club of Central Oregon